A recent survey report released by Oxford's research group shows that the power demand in Africa will double by 2030. It indicates, fossil fuel will still be the major power source in Africa, but renewable energy power generation will meet new development opportunities as African countries and energy enterprises make continuous efforts for exploitation.
The survey covered more than 2,500 power plants in 54 African countries, finding that renewable energy, except hydropower, only accounts for 3% of power supply in Africa. Renewable energy such as wind energy and solar energy is of great potential. In addition, renewable energy development varies from region to region in Africa. Countries along the Nile and Zambezi River rely on hydroelectric power generation. South Africa takes the lead in solar energy utilization. It is expected that South Africa will contribute over 40% of solar power generation capacity to Africa a decade later.
With economic development, the power demand in Africa will continue to rise, thus providing lots of opportunities for renewable energy development, stated by Galina Alova, the report's first author and fellow researcher from Oxford University's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. At present, the cost for power generation with renewable energy like wind and photovoltaic power constantly falls, so Africa can boost its renewable energy development by utilizing rich wind and solar resources.
South Africa has become the first African country that realizes the solar power generation capacity surpassing one gigawatt (GW). In the case that the total installed capacity becomes saturated, 16 members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) including South Africa have established renewable energy centers to support and coordinate regional renewable energy development. Ndhlukula, executive director of the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE), said that cooperation among African countries in technologies concerning solar energy, wind energy, and biogas utilization would contribute to the improvement of low power supply in rural areas.
Many countries including Egypt, Morocco, and Namibia have set goals for renewable energy development. Since the construction of the first solar power station in 2011, 22 solar power stations have been in operation in Algeria. According to Nigeria Renewable Energy Master Plan, the Algerian government intends to scale up input to increase the total installed capacity of solar energy. It is estimated that the total installed capacity of solar energy in Algeria will reach 5.5 GW by 2028. Senegal put its first wind power station into operation last March and signed an agreement with a Chinese-funded enterprise last April on the construction of the first decentralized wind power station with a capacity of 12 MW in Senegal. Mademba, CEO of Senelec (national electricity company of Senegal), said, "Building more wind power stations and putting them into operation will promote a diversified energy structure and gradually reduce the country's dependence on oil."
According to the World Energy Outlook 2020 released by International Energy Agency (IEA), the investment demand for the solar energy industry in Sub-Saharan Africa will reach USD 6 billion in 2021. African Development Bank (AfDB) currently allocates USD 500 million for small renewable energy programs and plans to invest USD 20 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa to build a solar power generation area covering 11 countries. Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, said, "Africa holds huge potential for renewable energy development. It is hoped that all parties will invest more development funds in Africa and work together for early realization of the common goal of addressing climate change worldwide."
Reviewed by: Zhao Yuhui and Jiang Yongfeng
Edited by: Li Haibo
Source: People's Daily